Esther Pearl Watson

A detail of a large-scale painting hanging on a smooth stone wall; the top half shows blue sky, white clouds, and a football-shaped pink UFO; the bottom half shows rolling green hills and pastures, trees, and a herd of black cows.
May 19, 2015–July 24, 2016

As part of the museum’s program of rotating contemporary artworks in the atrium, visionary storyteller Esther Pearl Watson (b. 1973) has created a mural-size painting (about 13 feet tall and 10 feet wide), specifically for the Carter’s atrium: Pasture Cows Crossing Indian Creek, Comanche, Texas, Looking for the old Civilian Fort of 1851, North of Gustine and a mile west of Baggett Creek Church (2014). An homage to her family, “the memories we built together and sense of place,” this lively, storied painting blends memories and imagination to capture the artist’s Texas upbringing. It features a wide swath of land in Comanche, Texas, where Watson’s grandfather operated a cattle ranch and was general manager of the local radio station with landmarks and motifs that are identifiably Texan. Although deeply personal, Watson’s narratives transcend her inner world to relay the distinctive folklores and qualities that are unique to the Lone Star State.

Born in Germany but raised in the north Dallas area, Watson grew up with an eccentric father who built spaceships in the front yard but who she saw as visionary. “Because of my father,” she notes, “I have always felt at home with vernacular art. My work has been called insider-outsider and faux naive. For me, it is a visual language I associate with the subjective.” As a nod to his influence, the artist often includes flying saucers in her canvases; a luminous pink one appears in Pasture Cows Crossing Indian Creek.

Installation Photos

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In the Press

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

July 19, 2015